Jeremy Cameron faces a long spell on the sidelines after a sickening hit on Brisbane defender Harris Andrews which has blighted Greater Western Sydney’s 27-point AFL victory at the Gabba.
The star Giants’ forward caught the Lions’ vice-captain flush in the jaw with a raised elbow as he attempted to spoil 11 minutes into Saturday’s first quarter.
Andrews appeared to be out cold before he hit the ground and was taken off on a medicab with a bleeding chin after a lengthy stoppage.
Cameron, who came in from behind and appeared to be no chance of winning the ball, stressed after the match he did not mean to hurt Andrews.
“It was unfortunate, the way it panned out. I just played the ball on its merits – I like hitting it nice and hard,” he said.
Both coaches were reluctant to discuss the incident in detail.
“He’s a bit sick and sorry. It was a big knock … (but) the judicial system will deal with that,” Lions coach Chris Fagan said.
Andrews, 21, was fortunate to escape serious injury, needing only four stitches to repair the damage and was apparently cracking jokes in the Brisbane rooms after regaining consciousness.
But his absence meant the Lions lost one of their most-important players for almost the entire match.
They were ahead on the scoreboard when he was felled but were outscored four goals to one for the rest of the quarter.
Two of them came from Cameron, who went on to kick his third goal after the halftime siren to give GWS a 24-point lead.
They were never in doubt from there despite a brave attempt at a comeback by a Luke Hodge-led Brisbane, who closed to within 15 points in the last quarter.
The Lions eventually fell 16.13 (109) to 12.10 (82) as the Giants recorded their seventh win of the season and third in a row.
Cameron was reported and looked set to be sent straight to the tribunal and hit with a lengthy ban.
He was roundly condemned on social media by AFL identities, including ex-Lions captain Tom Rockliff and former umpires boss Peter Schwab.
He was also vigorously booed by the 11,267-strong crowd every time he touched the ball.
Cameron’s poor disciplinary record won’t help his cause.
He has already been charged 10 times in his seven-year AFL career and suspended twice for a total of five weeks.
Australian Associated Press